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Kodokan wraps up shiny season

July 26, 2013
Special to the Breeze , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Cape Coral's Kodokan Judo has made its mark for the 4th year in a row. The Southwest Florida team represented well by bringing home 29 National and International medals for the 2013 competition year.

The season began in January with the Florida Open in Pembroke Pines. Kododan took the 2nd place team trophy with only five competitors.

Five Gold medals, three Silver and one Bronze: medalists Melissa Herrera, Gold; Zackary Nyce, Gold and Silver; and Marcos Johnson and Bryan Acosta, both Silver.

Next stop was the Cherry Blossom Open Junior National Championships in Delray Beach, on February 16 marking the first year classified as a point tournament. Gold medalists included Melissa Herrera, Christina Paccione and Erica Paccione. Taking Silver were Bryan Acosta, Marcos Johnson, Zackary Nyce, Erica Paccione, Alex Sacramento and Anthony Setzer.

On March 2, Kodokan hosted its 3rd annual Yoichiro Matsumura Judo Championships in Cape Coral bringing in 200 athletes from as far away as California and New York. USJA president, Gary Goltz flew in from California and distributed awards.

The dojo hosted a referee clinic with Mindy Beuhman that certified new judo referees. They also hosted two Judo clinics, one by Yoichiro Matsumura, 8th Dan and Olympic technical advisor and three-time Olympian Celita Schutz and one by Shinjiro Sasaki, Japan Champion.

Kodokan had 26 compete, some in multiple divisions, and earned 11 Gold, 14 Silver and 13 Bronze.

The USA Judo Youth and Scholastic National Judo Championships was a huge victory for Kodokan. They were held March 23-24 in Miami. Kodokan represented with six judoka and five out of six came home with Gold medals. Gold medalists included Erica Paccione, Christina Paccione, Zackary Nyce, and Melissa Herrera

The following local tournaments prepared the Judoka for the major point tournaments: April 20 at Orlando, Orlando Judo Invitational earning six gold, four silver, one bronze; May 4 at Pembroke Pines, Florida State Yudanshakai State Judo Championships earning seven gold, two silver, one bronze, third place team trophy; May 18 at Delray Beach, Rattler Round-up earning six gold, four silver, one bronze, first place team trophy; June 22 at Lakeland, Sunshine State Games, one Gold.

Irving, Texas was the next stop July 27-29, for the U.S. Junior Olympic National Championships with 1,000 competitors. Taking Gold were Erica and Christina Paccione. Taking Silver was Melissa Herrera and Raffy Marascio Bronze. The International Championship winners were Christina Paccione taking Gold, Melissa Herrera and Erica Paccione taking Silver and Raffy Marascio taking Bronze.

July 5-7 the team of four headed to Pittsburgh for the USJA/JF Junior Nationals. With over 500 competitors and five Olympians present, including Pat Burris, Lynn Roethke, Jason Morris, Kevin Asano and Celita Schutz. Kodokan Gold medalists were Melissa Herrera, Erica Paccione and Christina Paccione. Alex Sacramento won Silver.

The final tournament of the point season concludes in Fort Lauderdale, July 26-28, at the U.S. Junior Open International. The tournament consists of approximately 600 athletes from 20 countries.

As the competitive season comes to an end, the dojo will slow down the training, tweak technique and develop the newer Judoka by bringing them to local tournaments to prepare them for the 2014 competitive season.

The team has the following tournaments to finish out the year: Aug 31 at Delray Beach, Dragon's Challenge; Nov 9 at Delray Beach, Team Championship; Dec 6 at Azusa, Calif., USJA/USJF Winter Nationals

Kodokan Judo athletes are ranked in the top of the national roster. Points are given to athletes who place in the top three of national and international competitions.

Ranked players are given the opportunity to represent the United States in international competitions as the best judo players in the country. Erica Paccione, Christina Paccione, Melissa Herrera and Zackary Nyce are ranked #1.

Due to the age category, Erica Paccione and Christina Paccione have made the Pan American and European Team to represent the USA! They will be eligible to travel to El Salvador for the Pan American Games and either Belgium or France for the European Games. More details to follow.

For more information call Sensei John Paccione at 239-699-2825 or go to



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